Double Up Food Bucks allows EBT users to buy farmers market food

The Prescott Farmers Market is partnering with Pinnacle Prevention to launch the Double Up Food Bucks AZ (Double Up AZ) program at both the Prescott and Chino Valley Farmers Markets next month. Double Up AZ is a program that provides SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”) recipients with additional money to spend on Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables when they use their EBT cards at participating farmers markets.

The USDA has awarded $400,000 in funding to Pinnacle Prevention, a nonprofit based in Gilbert, Arizona, to implement Double Up Food Bucks Arizona – a program that helps participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchases of Arizona grown fruits and vegetables. Double Up Food Bucks Arizona supports low income families to bring home healthier food. In addition, local farmers gain new customers, make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a ripple effect across the community.

Double Up Food Bucks Arizona (Double Up AZ) is a program adapted from Fair Food Network in Michigan and their successful Double Up fruit and vegetable incentive model. Double Up AZ will be implemented in partnership with state and local agencies and community-based organizations at farmers’ markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and through farmer-based community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

“The Double Up model and other healthy food incentive programs have proven to be so impactful in other states,” said Adrienne Udarbe, Executive Director of Pinnacle Prevention. “Low income families report eating more fruits and vegetables and purchasing fewer low-nutrition options because of programs like these. We also know there is a tremendous economic benefit by giving farmers a financial boost. Farmers participating in the program in other states have seen a significant increase in their sales of fruits and vegetables which has led many to add additional acreage of fruits and vegetables.”

Double Up AZ will provide a $1 for $1 match in SNAP dollars at participating Double Up sites, up to $10 per visit. If a family spends $10 in SNAP dollars at the market, they receive an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to spend on Arizona grown fruits and vegetables. Families bring home $20 worth of healthy food for $10. Local farmers gain new customers, sell more produce and make more money. SNAP participants stimulate economic activity and opportunity within their communities. A dollar spent at a farmers’ market can generate $2.80 for that community’s economy. Right now, less than one percent of SNAP dollars is spent at farmers’ markets in Arizona and with Arizona’s local farmers and growers.

Pinnacle Prevention is dedicated to building healthy food systems and active living opportunities across Arizona in support of thriving communities. This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. For more information, visit www.doubleupfoodbucksarizona.org.